I begin this post unsure as to whether I will even publish it. For while I share a lot of my life here, I try to avoid venting about those times family members piss me off. We all have various family drama’s that play out from time to time. After all, sharing DNA with someone doesn’t guarantee that we will always see eye to eye.
I understand that. I once heard that the ultimate compliment we can pay our family is the knowledge that even if we had no blood ties, we would still want to be friends with them. And sadly, sometimes, I don’t know if I can say that.
I do want to make it clear that I am not talking about my Husband and children. In actual fact, I feel that they are the only ones who are even on my team. I really feel that I have their love, support, understanding, and forgiveness. No matter what.
But not so with everyone.
Because it seems that in some families, “truth” is a difficult pill to swallow. I’m not talking about hysterical screaming matches where the truth is used to wound. I’m talking about betraying someone’s confidence while keeping other people’s petty little secrets. Keeping a family event a secret from you because you are not invited. Not that you expected to be, not that you would have gone, and not that you care in the slightest. There is no anger or issues of any kind at not getting an invite. So why do other people feel they should hide the knowledge from you? Because they would rather protect other (more important?) family members, and are not concerned with your feelings. Okay. But what about when another member of this wonderful family of yours flat out lies about their plans for that day? You try to organise a get together and they claim they plan to stay home and relax? And then someone else at the party posts a picture on Instagram where you can clearly see this person (so in need of a day at home to relax), in the background.
What about when you share personal health details with someone you trust, and don’t feel the need to ask them to keep it quiet? Should I then feel pissed when I get phone calls from other people in the family who have mis-understood the issues and are now concerned for me? Hmm…well, I do feel pissed.
Because let’s get this straight for a second.
You share my private health details with anyone you choose, but keep a silly birthday party a big secret? And someone I credited for their honesty and integrity, actually lies about it.
Yep. I’m pissed.
So I made my feelings clear to the person I felt most aggrieved by. I told them that it was hypocritical. I called them two faced. I may have been petty in pointing out the double standards always at play, but I did it anyway. I didn’t scream, I didn’t get hysterical. I thought I could tell this person honestly and openly that they have hurt my feelings. I thought I could say, “what you did was wrong”, but alas, it seems not.
Because my phone has been silent for the last two weeks.
Are they waiting for an apology? It seems like it. And not because I want to be stubborn and drag this out, but it’s not going to happen. I have had time to reflect on what I said, and it still stands. It’s one set of rules for me and another for everyone else. Seems like what is acceptable in my family is the let’s-pretend version of life, and not the truth.
I now feel that in order to keep things all pretty and happy in the future I have to forfeit my right to speak my mind. My honest, blunt opinions are not welcome. My family love me as long as I don’t ever expect them to be honest with themselves, or with me.
How do I feel about that? My first reaction is f**k that. But I know I will play along because life is too short, blah blah blah. I was raised to be a good girl. The good little Croatian wife and mother who walks the same path as everyone else, never thinks outside the square, never puts a toe out of line, and never causes any ripples in that tiny little world.
Well, I find that role harder to play the older I get. And my Husband, whose opinion matters to me more than all the others combined, doesn’t want me to play those games either. He has always been honest, consequences be damned. And my grown children are not blind. They too see the hypocrisy, the double standards. They too urge me to stand strong, to stand proud. And that means more to me than I can ever describe.
As for the rest? Well, sad to say, but I know it will never change. They will never change.
And I will keep pretending it’s okay.